Bishop back from Ethiopia - WNEM TV 5

Bishop Cistone back from Ethiopia, Kenya

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SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, recently returned from an eight-day pastoral visit to Ethiopia and Kenya.

As a member of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Board of Directors, he was invited to visit several countries where CRS maintains emergency and long-term relief, food and clothing distribution centers and medical facilities.

"Seeing children malnourished, sick and dying, many of them orphaned or homeless…men, women, children - even babies - suffering from HIV/AIDS and TB, you just know - I knew - we must do something," Bishop Cistone said. "I hope, in some small way, to increase awareness of the work of CRS within our local Diocese of Saginaw, because our support does make a difference in the lives of our desperately needy brothers and sisters overseas."

The experience is just one of many recorded by Bishop Cistone as he visited medical facilities where men, women and children who suffer from HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malnutrition and other physical and mental illnesses, as well as orphaned children are being cared for around the clock.

In order to provide emergency and long-term relief, as well as develop infrastructures and systems that allow for an improved quality of life, CRS partners with other Catholic, non-Catholic, and governmental agencies.

"We inspected a project where a well was drilled at the top of a mountain so that clean, spring water could be carried through a pipe to the village below," Bishop Cistone said. "The women of the village usually spend eight hours a day just to locate and transport water for food and cleansing. For the first time, the 480 families who live in and around the village now have access to a spigot with clean water. This has dramatically changed their lives."

In addition to meeting with the people of the countries he visited and CRS workers, Bishop Cistone had an opportunity to meet with dignitaries, fellow bishops and local leaders of the Catholic Church.

He also visited a large CRS food warehouse, a Catholic hospital and university.

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